Having just fought off a long-running lawsuit, The Hobbit now faces another peril not born of Middle Earth. Deadline Hollywood is reporting that the financial situation at MGM has become so dire that bondholders are considering the idea of just letting the studio go bankrupt.
At issue is a $3.5 billion dollar debt. Not exactly small change, and the studio is having trouble making the interest payments. Without some form of relief, the company says there won't be enough cash to keep funding current projects or to start production on Guillermo del Toro's adaptation of The Hobbit. At least one other big-name franchise is in danger as well. The studio owns the rights to James Bond, which is supposed to be heading toward its 23rd and, as yet, untitled installment.
No word yet from the creditors as to which way this is going to turn out. Still, the gold in The Hobbit is not limited to what can be picked up in Smaug's cave, and it is hard to believe that, even if the studio were to go bankrupt, so much potential profit would just be left lying around for too long with no one to claim it. Posted 10.01.09 by reelz
Several sources are noting that Viggo Mortenson has hinted in an interview with Men's Journal that he plans on taking an indefinite break from acting. Some are going so far as to say that he's permanently throwing in the towel, although that seems like a far-fetched conclusion. Nevertheless, Mortenson definitely indicated that he's burned out and needs to go on a temporary hiatus.
I have no plans to do another movie. I don't know what's going to happen. I'm open to seeing how I feel in a while, but right now I'm not saying yes to anything. My agent is like, "Well, if you don't do anything, people will forget about you ..." I just feel like I've taken on too much for a while.
This means that The Road might be Mortenson's last movie for a while. Cinema Blend points out that this could be bad news for Lord of the Rings fans, who were expecting to see Mortenson reprise his role as Aragorn for the second of Guillermo del Toro's Hobbit movies. Although the character isn't featured in Tolkien's novel, the second movie promises to go beyond The Hobbit and create a sort of bridge to Lord of the Rings, which follows The Hobbit chronologically.
Regarding Mortenson's agent's claim, this obviously isn't the first time an actor has decided to take a sudden leave from his career, and it's not impossible to recover from a protracted period away. Since starring in The Boxer (1997), Daniel Day-Lewis has done only three movies: Gangs of New York, The Ballad of Jack and Rose (which his wife directed), and There Will Be Blood. While we're not saying that Mortenson necessarily has the same clout, Day-Lewis's case shows that some time away won't necessarily ruin a person's career. Either way, we'll have to wait and see what Mortenson decides. Posted 09.10.09 by reelz
Although everyone had long been proceeding under the assumption that Guillermo del Toro's two-part adaptation of The Hobbit was a go, there was always one thing looming in the background that threatened to derail the project — the Tolkien family lawsuit. The family (and Harper Collins Publishers) claimed that royalty payments that New Line owed them for the Lord of the Rings movies — which raked in nearly $6 billion worldwide — were never paid. The suit sought to block production of The Hobbit until a settlement was reached.
Today it was announced that the suit has finally been settled out of court. The amount of the settlement was not disclosed, but we're going to safely assume it was for a ton. The really important news, though, is that one of the last obstacles for making The Hobbit into a movie has been cleared. Everyone can breathe a sigh of relief.
The next question to be settled: Who's going to play Bilbo? At this rate, we should be getting an answer very soon. Posted 09.08.09 by reelz
Actor Elijah Wood is the rare example of a child actor who's made the transition into adulthood relatively unscathed by the ravages of Hollywood. After a part in Back to the Future Part II at the tender young age of eight, Wood went on to star in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings (LOTR) trilogy, forever becoming identified with Hobbits. Wood is still questioned about the role, even more so now that production on Guillermo del Toro's LOTR prequel, The Hobbit, is underway.
In a recent interview to promote his new movie, 9, Wood was asked who he thinks would make a great choice to play Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit.
That's a tough one. I think Ian Holm really set a high bar for that performance. He really did an extraordinary job, and he really made it his own. There's a lot of quirkiness to that character. It's not the easiest character to play. One couldn't really do it straightforward — there's some odd quirks to him. So it'll be interesting to see who they get. Nobody really comes to mind. They've mentioned a few people so far. James McAvoy is great. I think he could be interesting.
Wood is no stranger to voice acting, having lent his pipes to Mumble in the smash animated feature Happy Feet, so he was right at home in the sound booth for 9, in which he plays the lead role of #9. Interestingly, there are superficial similarities between 9 and The Lord of the Rings that have not escaped Wood's notice.
I just loved that world that [director Shane Acker] created, and I loved the idea of being a part of it and then ultimately the idea of being a part of something that would flesh that out. Taking into consideration the journey that they all took, certainly there were similarities [between 9 and LOTR], but I definitely liked the characters and I think the character of 9 was interesting. They've already established a community, and he comes in with all these questions about who they are and what they are and that we need to get to the bottom of what these machines are about and what does this talisman do. They've all stopped asking those questions. I really liked that about him — that he shakes them loose a little bit to get at who they are and get at solving the dangers that face them.
Of course, one would naturally assume that Wood's favorite role would be portraying the Hobbit that made him a mega-star, but Wood admits to favoring the dark character of Kevin from Frank Miller's Sin City.
Sin City was a pretty awesome role to play. Getting a chance to play a character like [Kevin], and also being a fan of the graphic novel, it was a real treat — not something that comes around often. So that's definitely one of my favorites.
9 also features the voice talents of Martin Landau, Christopher Plummer, John C. Reilly, Crispin Glover, and Jennifer Connelly. Posted 09.05.09 by BrentJS
The Hobbit's executive producer Peter Jackson has said he’s holding off on casting decisions until the first draft of the script is done. But that hasn’t stopped the rampant buzz about who will take on the role of the hobbit himself, Bilbo Baggins.
We take a look at the rumored top contenders to date, plus add a few suggestions, in Casting The Hobbit: The Top 5 Choices for Bilbo Baggins. Posted 08.25.09 by reelz
There have been all sorts of unsubstantiated rumors popping up in recent days about the two-part Hobbit movie being helmed by Guillermo del Toro. Now we have some real news, confirmed by Gandalf (Ian McKellen) himself.
According to a report form TheOneRing.net, McKellen showed up at an all-night screening of The Lord of the Rings in London and revealed that he is currently re-reading The Hobbit in expectation of returning to New Zealand for filming in March 2010. He also said that he is supposed to see the script next week and indicated that while knows who is going to play Bilbo in the movie, he isn't prepared to name names. Speculation is currently focused on James McAvoy and David Tennant now that Daniel Radcliffe has bowed out. Posted 08.24.09 by reelz
Rumors have been swirling for quite some time that Daniel Radcliffe might be tapped to play the lead role of Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit. Not such a big stretch for the Harry Potter star, so it seemed plausible enough. He would make an excellent hobbit, no doubt.
Final casting decisions though, we found out a few weeks ago, are all still up in the air awaiting the completion and approval of the script. And now Radcliffe himself has put an end to the speculation.
I'd have to say, "Thanks but no thanks," not that anyone has asked me. Honestly, I don't think they would want me anyway, it's just too close. Whatever I do next, I don't think there will be any wizards in it!
So if not the boy wizard, then who? Other names being mentioned are James McAvoy and David Tennant. For his part, Radcliffe is rooting for McAvoy.
James McAvoy is fantastic. I think he should play it. I've done the fantasy-film thing. Actually, so has he, with the Chronicles of Narnia, of course. But I've done it for longer. He can take over. I'm done. I don't think anybody involved in that would want me to, either. Posted 08.19.09 by reelz
Peter Jackson may not be done with Middle Earth after all.
After directing the massively successful Lord of the Rings trilogy, Jackson handed the reins over to Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth), who is now behind two movie adaptations of The Hobbit.
But now Marketsaw, a blog devoted to 3-D features, reports that not only will The Hobbit be in 3-D, but Jackson may direct a third movie that acts as a bridge between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, its chronological successor. (A third film that del Toro ruled out two months ago.)
The author of the article quotes someone described as "one of my most trusted sources." Here's what that source had to say.
I think The Hobbit may be a different beast to the book, at least in terms of going darker.... I can tell you this: Peter Jackson is very keen to have the two part Hobbit tale set in 3D. Del Toro, however, is holding back on that school of thought. At least for the time being.
I'm hearing word — and it's only speculation at the moment — that it wont be two films. It will be three. The two parts and the bridge movie. Word alone is not trustworthy. However I hear this from lots of people and have seen things to indicate this may be the way it is heading.
We can only imagine how ecstatic this would make die-hard Lord of the Rings fans (ourselves included), should it prove to be true. It remains a shame, though, that we'll have to wait more than two years to see anything, since the first movie in the Hobbit ... trilogy? ... is not due in theaters until December 2011. Posted 08.18.09 by reelz
In an interview at Comic Con, Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson spilled some interesting details about the status of the script for The Hobbit. He said the script for part one is about three weeks from completion. And everything — from casting to even getting a final green light from the studio — is still hanging on how that turns out.
He also explained in detail exactly why filmmakers decided that The Hobbit wouldn't all fit into a single movie:
We worked through the storyline, and we thought, "Well, obviously, we could squeeze The Hobbit into one movie," but even, like, a three-hour movie, you'd be amazed at how much of that story you'd have to lose. It's weird. I mean, the book ... is what the book is, and we just worked through a process of including all the events that we'd like to see in a film, and it was clear [that] it wasn't going to fit. Plus, the fact that we want to embellish a few things and put a little bit of extra ... narrative in for Gandalf and what he's doing in Dol Guldur and the Necromancer and various sort of side ... stories that are happening.
So, if all goes according to plan, we should get to see some pretty interesting scenes even beyond what was included in the book. A confrontation between Gandalf and the Necromancer before he has been exposed as Sauron could really turn out to be quite spectacular. There had been some speculation that the Gandalf/Necromancer storyline could be a key part of the plans for the (now abandoned) idea for a bridge film between the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. It's good to see that the concept itself has not been wholly abandoned.
Posted 07.28.09 by reelz
EW reports that Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson spoke to the public at Comic-Con in San Diego following a screening of Neill Blomkamp's District 9, which he his producing. Jackson spoke about both The Hobbit, which is being directed by Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth), and his own The Lovely Bones, due in theaters this December.
Jackson will deliver a script for The Hobbit in a few weeks, and he says that work on the movie is still very preliminary.
We don't have a budget. We don't have a green light. We can't offer any actors roles til then.
Meanwhle, Jackson screened a short clip for The Lovely Bones ahead of the release of the first official trailer on August 7. The movie tells the story of a 14-year-old girl — portrayed by Saoirse Ronan — who is murdered and afterwards watches over her family from heaven. She also sees her killer (Stanley Tucci) and struggles with a desire for revenge. Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz play the girl's parents.
Although the subject matter of the movie is grim, Jackson finds humor in the main character.
She's wonderfully funny. She feels no self pity and makes ironic, wry observations. Posted 07.24.09 by reelz